Summer Rage Sauce: Big Birch ’94

Phish @ Big Birch Pavilion via Phish.com

One of my favorite summer-time shows took place on July 13, 1994 at the Big Birch Pavilion in Patterson, NY. The show is well-known among fans and for good reason. The excellent setlist, loose playing, and silly feel embrace all that is Phish in the summer.

The show gets off to a hot start with Trey blazing through Buried Alive > Poor Heart > Sample. The first set has a very light feel to it; each song features sunny playing from the band. The mid-set DwD > Fee -> It’s Ice is stellar and sets us up well for the I Didn’t Know with Fish on trombone.

Set 1: Buried Alive > Poor Heart > Sample in a Jar, Foam, The Mango Song, Down with Disease > Fee -> It’s Ice, Fast Enough for You, I Didn’t Know, Split Open and Melt

Set 2: Possum, Cavern -> Wilson -> Cavern > NICU -> Tweezer -> Julius -> Tweezer-> Big Black Furry Creature from Mars -> Tweezer -> Mound, Slave to the Traffic Light, Suzy Greenberg

Encore: My Sweet One, Tweezer Reprise

While the first set gets everyone frantically dancing and sweaty under the summer sun of New York, the second is were the real meat is. Although the latter half of the show features some serious music, it’s all wrapped around some awfully tongue-and-cheek ideas.

The set kicks off with a blazing Possum. Shortly after the song ends, the music to Cavern starts. All of a sudden, Trey starts singing the lyrics to Wilson. The band was moving between Wilson and Cavern instrumentals flawlessly. Eventually they finished up with the closing lyrics to Cavern. NICU was used as a buffer before the next head-spinning segment of the show.

This Tweezer is historic. Tweezer segues into Julius–almost unheard of…then, the Julius jam fades back into the Tweezer jam. Shortly thereafter, the jam turns into a bluegrass version of BBFCFM. Unfinished, BBFCFM segues back into the Tweezer jam for a while before settling into Mound.

Suzy closes the set, laced with Slave teases.

This show better get you ready for summer! Tune in next week for the next installment of SUMMER RAGE SAUCE!

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